Oil and Gas Innovation (MSc) 2017 entry

The MSc in Oil and Gas Innovation equips students with the skills and competences to generate and commercialise innovations for the oil and gas industry, covering exploration, production and decommissioning.

Applications for 2017 entry for this course have now closed, see which courses are available for the upcoming academic year.

Course type

Postgraduate; leading to a Master of Science (MSc)

Course duration

One year full time or two years part time

Entry requirements

A good 2.1 Honours undergraduate degree in Engineering, Chemistry or a geology-related degree. Applicants with degrees in other subjects or with relevant work experience will be considered on a case-by-case basis. If you studied your first degree outside the UK, see the international entry requirements.

English language proficiency. See English language tests and qualifications.

The qualifications listed are indicative minimum requirements for entry. Some academic Schools will ask applicants to achieve significantly higher marks than the minimum. Obtaining the listed entry requirements will not guarantee you a place, as the University considers all aspects of every application including, where applicable, the writing sample, personal statement, and supporting documents.

Tuition fees

UK and EU: £9,615
Overseas: £17,895

The fees for Oil and Gas Innovation include the training fee of £2,415.

Application deadline

Applications for 2017 entry for this course have now closed, see which courses are available for the upcoming academic year.

Application requirements

  • CV
  • two original signed academic references
  • academic transcripts and degree certificates
  • English language requirements certificate
  • letter of intent (optional).

For more guidance, see supporting documents and references for postgraduate taught programmes. 

If you started this programme in 2016, you can find information about 2016 entry on the 2016 Oil and Gas Innovation MSc page. Information about all programmes from previous years of entry can be found in our archive.

Course information

The MSc in Oil and Gas Innovation is a collaborative programme coordinated by the University of Aberdeen and involving Heriot Watt, Robert Gordon University, Strathclyde, and St Andrews. The degree is hosted by the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences at St Andrews. Students who apply for the course at St Andrews will take three of their modules at partner institutions.

The course is aimed at technical innovators, business developers, managers or technical staff, and engineering or science graduates interested in learning how to identify and commercialise innovation opportunities for the oil and gas industry.


  • The course is run as a collaboration between five Scottish universities, providing an opportunity for you to gain from the breadth of expertise and experience across these institutions.
  • Students learn how to analyse problems related to the oil and gas sector and apply tools and techniques to identity opportunities for innovation.
  • Project work involves progressing an innovation from one technology readiness level further towards commercialisation.

Teaching format

The MSc degree requires one semester of full-time (or two semesters part-time) coursework equivalent to five compulsory modules and one optional module. The final component for the MSc is the completion of a project in oil and gas innovation.

The taught portion of the programme focuses on the innovation and commercialisation processes in the oil and gas sector and provides knowledge and understanding of a specific technical area of your choice.

Some taught modules are delivered at other university campuses or at independent work sites. Modules which are taught by partner institutions (i.e. Commercialising Innovation, Business Essentials for Innovators and Product Development) will be delivered partially via Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) and partially via face-to-face teaching. Students will need to arrange their own travel and accommodation for attending modules at partner universities.

The compulsory Oil and Gas project can be carried out at the employer’s site.

Teaching methods include lectures, seminars, small group tutorials, one-to-one discussion and independent learning. Assessment for the taught portion is based on reports, project proposals, oral presentations and written examinations.

Further particulars regarding curriculum development.


The modules in this programme have varying methods of delivery and assessment. For more details about each module, including weekly contact hours, teaching methods and assessment, please see the latest module catalogue.

Compulsory modules

There are four compulsory modules. Three of these modules are delivered by partner institutions; for modules held by other universities, students are taught by a mixture of VLE distance learning and short-term face-to-face teaching (for which you will need to make your own travel and accommodation arrangements).

  • Commercialising Innovation (University of Aberdeen)
  • Business Essentials for Innovators (University of Strathclyde)
  • Product Development (University of Strathclyde)
  • Project Scoping: prepares students for the innovation project by scoping a project informed by literature and market research (University of St Andrews).

Optional modules

Students take one optional module at the University of St Andrews from the following choices:

  • Geochemistry: covers origin and distribution of the elements, thermodynamics, kinetics and aqueous geochemistry.
  • Petroleum Exploration and Geophysics: provides a thorough understanding of the geoscience of petroleum exploration, particularly using geophysical methods, and a working knowledge of modern concepts in oil and gas geology.
  • Isotope Geochemistry: Theory, Techniques, and Applications: explores the theory of isotopes and their fractionation, including kinetic, equilibrium and Rayleigh fractionation, and how isotope measurements are made. It concludes with case studies and applications.
  • Geodynamics: contrasts geodynamic evolution in the Archaean, Proterozoic, Palaeozoic, Mesozoic and Cenozoic using a number of case studies, including examples visited in the field.
  • Advanced Geochemistry: trains students in the advanced techniques and methodologies used to address fundamental and applied questions related to the functioning of the Earth system and the cycling of natural materials between fluid and solid phases.
  • Biogeochemistry: examines the role of biogeochemical processes in controlling Earth surface chemistry, and their possible influence on deep Earth reservoirs. It highlights current geochemical and numerical techniques used to constrain these interactions in both modern and ancient (rock record) systems.

The modules listed ran in the academic year 2016-2017 and are indicative of this course. There is no guarantee that these modules will run for 2017 entry.

Take a look at the most up-to-date modules in the module catalogue.


Throughout the year, but with particular focus in the final months of the course, students will conduct a research project in oil and gas innovation in which they further an innovative concept from one technology readiness level to commercialisation.

Students work closely with an academic supervisor and, in most cases, an industry expert.

Students present the results of their project as an oral presentation and in a report of no more than 25,000 words. Students will also be examined on their project results through a vive examination.

If students choose not to complete the project requirement for the MSc, there are exit awards available that allow suitably qualified candidates to receive a Postgraduate Diploma. By choosing an exit award, you will finish your degree at the end of the second semester of study and receive a PGDip instead of an MSc.

Conferences and events

The School of Earth and Environmental Sciences holds monthly DEES Seminars with expert guest speakers from the UK and abroad.


Recent Graduate Discount
The University of St Andrews offers a 10% reduction in tuition fees for students who have graduated during the last three years and are now starting a postgraduate programme.

Find out more about postgraduate scholarships.

After the MSc

Research degrees

Many of our graduates continue their education by enrolling in PhD programmes at St Andrews or elsewhere. 

The Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) often provides funding for PhD programmes in Earth and Environmental Science through the IAPETUS Doctoral Training Programme.

PhD in Earth and Environmental Sciences


The MSc in Oil and Gas Innovation prepares students for careers in the oil and gas sector. Students are enabled to:

  • innovate by analysing problems and understanding the innovation process.
  • develop business models and plans and frame technical innovations in terms of market readiness. 
  • validate innovations with market research, financial projections and propositions.
  • communicate effectively an innovation proposition to appropriate sources of funding.
  • understand the regulatory, intellectual property and litigation issues surrounding innovation in the oil and gas sector.

The Careers Centre offers one-to-one advice to all students on a taught postgraduate course and offers a programme of events to assist students to build their employability skills.


School of Earth and Environmental Sciences
University of St Andrews
Irvine Building
St Andrews
KY16 9AL
Scotland, UK

Phone: +44 (0)1334 46 3940
Email: earthsci@st-andrews.ac.uk

Earth and Environmental Sciences website

Admission to the University of St Andrews is governed by our Admissions policy.

Curriculum development

As a research intensive institution, the University ensures that its teaching references the research interests of its staff, which may change from time to time. As a result, programmes are regularly reviewed with the aim of enhancing students' learning experience. Our approach to course revision is described online. (PDF, 72 KB).

Tuition fees

The University will clarify compulsory fees and charges it requires any student to pay at the time of offer. The offer will also clarify conditions for any variation of fees. The University’s approach to fee setting is described online. (PDF, 84 KB)